Following widespread looting and arson by suspected hoodlums, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered police commanders to immediately stop the descent to anarchy across the country.
Adamu directed the immediate mobilisation of all police operational assets and resources to bring an end to the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property, and reclaim the public space from “criminal elements masquerading as protesters in some parts of the country.”
In a statement, Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, said the IGP gave the order to all Assistant Inspectors -General of Police, Commissioners of Police, heads of police operational Units, Squadron and Base Commanders in charge of Zonal/State/FCT Commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit, on October 24, 2020.
“In addition, CPs and heads of police formations in the various states had also been charged to mobilize their men and work in sync with the command CPs in the areas where they are domiciled, to dominate the public space and ensure peace and safety in the affected areas,” the statement said.
It was titled, ‘Reclaim the public space and restore normalcy, IG orders AIGs, CPs, CPs, others.’
Looting and vandalisation of public and private properties had been going on for the past five days with the security forces unable to stop it.
In Abuja on Saturday, suspected hoodlums stormed the FCT Social Welfare Secretariat, Area 10, Garki, in an attempt to loot a COVID-19 warehouse located in the area.
Policemen and other security personnel guarding the store fired gunshots and tear gas to deter the youths while the traders at the UTC market, Area 10, Garki, Abuja and residents of the area quaked in fear.
A graphics designer, Segun Stickers, said the UTC market and the big shopping plaza in the area were shut down following the incident.
“We are locked inside the UTC market. The police are firing gunshots and tear gas to stave off the attack by the hoodlums who were trying to loot the COVID-19 palliatives kept in a warehouse here.
“Many people were injured while trying to escape attack by the hoodlums and the whole area is in turmoil, ” he said on the phone.
A similar situation was recorded in Bukuru,Jos South, Plateau State, on Saturday, where residents broke into warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were stored.
Noting that ‘enough is enough’, the IG said the acts of lawlessness, disruption of public peace and order and wanton violence had resulted in indiscriminate looting of shops, malls and warehouses, damage to property and loss of lives.
He further directed the police strategic managers to personally lead and coordinate the operation and use all legitimate means, to halt further slide into lawlessness and brigandage.
The statement read, “The Inspector-General of Police, M.A Adamu, has ordered the immediate mobilization of all police operational assets and resources to bring an end to the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property, and reclaim the public space from criminal elements masquerading as protesters in some parts of the country.
“The IGP gave the order to all Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Commissioners of Police, Heads of Police Operational Units, Squadron and Base Commanders in charge of Zonal/State/FCT Commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit, today 24th October, 2020.
“The police enjoined law-abiding citizens not to panic “but rather join forces with the police and other members of the law enforcement community to protect their communities from the criminal elements.”
Adamu warned trouble-makers not to test the collective will of the nation by coming out to cause any further breakdown of law and order.